Montreal filmmaker Eisha Marjara frees The Tourist trapped within herself
You may remember Eisha Marjara as the Bombay-bound babe in her Bollywood-based docu-fiction Desperately Seeking Helen, or as the emaciated subject of her less jovial The Incredible Shrinking Woman. One thing is sure, though: If you’ve ever seen her screen work, you will remember her.
"Helen was a film that took everything out of me, and so I decided to do something just to do something. I wanted to make a film that I wasn’t emotionally attached to. And it actually ended up being quite a delightful little story about a guy who is heartbroken and he takes off on an extended holiday from reality. It’s not a serious film, it’s kind of a funny film."
The Tourist, Marjara’s first work in short fiction film, has its world premiere within the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. Despite all her efforts to not make this latest film overtly biographical, the director and her associate-producer boyfriend ended their relationship between the writing and shooting of this heartbreak story, giving The Tourist a reflective twist.
"If there are any similarities between this film and my other films, it’s that I keep going back to themes of alienation and dislocation, and loss – I mean this film is much more subtle, and I haven’t put myself into the character at all, but even when I want to make a light film with nothing at all to do with me those themes come into play," she laughs.
Marjara’s thematic interests, or creative obsessions, come from a youth spent battling anorexia and an adulthood plagued by her loss of loved ones to the infamous Air India crash. They are tragedies that inform her singularly seductive and strong filmic voice. And The Tourist won’t be the last time travel, displacement and emotional voids see the light of day in her work…
"I may want to work in short drama again, but right now I’m feeling ready to go back on the themes that I’m still preoccupied with and need to explore and articulate – identity, abandonment, family and belonging. That’s what I want to be doing right now."
The Tourist, by Eisha Marjara
At Cinémathèque québécoise, Feb. 22, 9:30 p.m.
Within the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois